Google and EU ‘reach deal’ over search monopoly case

Apr 16, 2013 | Regulation, Search engine marketing

Google’s revised proposals to settle an EC antitrust investigation over its search results has reportedly been accepted by the agency. According to The New York Times, The European Commission is satisfied with the revised proposals submitted by Google last week to settle its antitrust investigation into the search engine giant. The New York Times cites […]

Google’s revised proposals to settle an EC antitrust investigation over its search results has reportedly been accepted by the agency.


According to The New York Times, The European Commission is satisfied with the revised proposals submitted by Google last week to settle its antitrust investigation into the search engine giant.
The New York Times cites anonymous sources who were familiar with the agreement, and reports that:
“Under the proposal, Google agrees to clearly label search results from its own properties, like Google Plus Local or Google News, and in some cases to show links from rival search engines,” The New York Times reported. “The changes will not be widely seen for at least a month, while rivals and others in the industry can weigh in on the plan, in a process called market testing.”
Google won’t have to change the algorithm that produces its search results, according to the story.
Instead, “the biggest change has to do with search results related to topics like shopping and flights, a field known as vertical search,” the story reported.
Those are the areas where competitors have been complaining that Google favours its own results over theirs, which has been one of the key complaints that led to the investigation by the EC. The agency is the executive arm of the European Union.
The changes will not be widely seen for at least a month, while rivals and others in the industry can weigh in on the plan, in a process called market testing.
The biggest change has to do with search results related to topics like shopping and flights, a field known as vertical search. Google has been pushing into these areas, prompting complaints from competitors like Yelp and TripAdvisor who worry that Google will favor its own results over theirs.
About 86% of all online searches in Europe are conducted using Google, according to comScore. In the United States, it has about two-thirds of the market.
Under the terms of the settlement, the details of which were first reported by the Financial Times, search results would look slightly different in Europe than elsewhere.
In areas where Google does not make money from search results, like weather or news, the company will label the results as Google-owned properties. In areas where Google sells ads, like local business reviews, it will show links to at least three competitors. In areas in which all search results are paid ads, like shopping, Google will auction links to rivals.

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